Friendship Ended with Salmiya, Now Netflix is My Best Friend

Post by Mark

A few days ago I posted about how Salem Al Mubarak Street is finally turning into a pedestrian only street. One of the negatives I highlighted was the fact they had chopped down some of the old trees that have been there for nearly 50 years. I was upset about it, but when I asked the engineer behind the project if they were removing the old trees, he responded saying “only some”. So I assumed they had chopped down the trees that they didn’t need and all the ones left were the ones they were keeping. Well last night I noticed they had removed nearly all the remaining trees. Using Google Maps I counted 28 trees that were originally planted on that street and there are now only 3 left. That means 25 trees in total were removed! One of the remaining trees currently has a chainsaw parked under it so it might not even be there anymore by the time this post gets published. I’ve marked all the removed trees with x’s in the above picture and the ones remaining with circles.

How is 3 trees out of 28 considered “only some”? Why are they removing the trees anyway? If they were building an airport runway I could understand but they’re not so why? Some of the trees were fairly large and it would have been pretty cute to have small cafes underneath with seating areas around them. The trees were large enough to provide shade, they didn’t need any watering because they were well rooted and the trees were also homes to a lot of birds.

But you know what? I don’t care anymore.

Last night I got so upset about the whole situation I emotionally booked two trips for the next two weekends. Why am I getting so worked up about all of this? It’s not my country, I don’t own the street nor were the trees mine. Why am I even surprised about all of this? Based on the renderings the engineer shared I should have known no good was going to come out of this. When you demolish historical buildings in your renderings and replace them with fancy shiny malls, it says a lot about the thinking process. Chopping historical trees isn’t only a Kuwait thing either, it happens everywhere. In Lebanon for example a politician cut down part of an ancient cedar forrest so he could setup an outdoor venue for his son’s wedding. I mean like wtf? If shit is gonna happen its gonna happen and there is nothing I can do to stop it.

So starting today I’m hopefully emotionally disconnecting myself from Salmiya. I no longer want to be mayor. If anyone wants to take over the responsibility of giving a fuck, they’ve only started construction work on half of old Salmiya. They haven’t started on the other half yet (pictured above) and based on Google Maps there are approximately 38 trees there. Good luck trying to save them.


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50 comments, add your own...


  1. Zaboor says:

    I emotionally disconnected from the whole country a while back. Entropy is very strong here.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Totally depressing to read this news. Why would they cut down trees?
    totally confused by how such architects don’t include nature in their design?
    If its becoming a pedestrian only street, won’t you need some trees to protect the pedestrians from the hot sun?? it doesn’t ,make any sense at all??

    I am very sure they’ll place artificial plants/trees to enhance the design

    why why?? Totally frustrated :(

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Totally depressing to read this news. Why would they cut down trees?
    I am confused by how such architects don’t include nature in their design?
    If its becoming a pedestrian only street, won’t you need some trees to protect the pedestrians from the hot sun?? It doesn’t make sense at all!!!!

    I am very sure they’ll place artificial plants/trees to enhance the design

    why why?? Totally frustrated :(

  4. Raz says:

    But why did they leave the street lamps? Both of them, the trees and the lamps, are in the middle of the road. So if the trees were a hindrance in the new construction, the street lamps should be too.

    Can not understand why they can build around the lamps but not the trees. Sigh!

  5. q80 says:

    I am really upset of what is happening!!

    They take the decision to demolish and chop trees so easily !

    Look at mamsha Mishref and Bayan, the same thing happened by chopping trees..

    I don’t understand what is the purpose of such project if the first thing to do is demolishing the trees

    I think there should be a new social movement against removing trees for new construction work!

    Trees take decades to grow and they chop them without any sense!

    I don’t blame you to be angry Mark.. this is ridiculous.

    • Yousuf says:

      I was so sad when they removed the trees from the area around mamsha Bayan. I walk my dog there daily, and it was so much fun walking between the trees, away from the people using the mamsha. My dog used to love sniffing around, finding random sticks to carry around and play with, and even finding unexpected wildlife (we came across hedgehogs numerous times)! Almost felt like an “adventure” that I’m sure everyone fantasized about when they were kids (can’t really do that here in Kuwait where the residential areas are almost entirely suburbs – no “wilderness” left, so to speak).

      Then, sometime in Feb if I remember correctly, I leave Kuwait for a week and upon my return it’s entirely gone. Fucking gutted.

  6. Mo says:

    I blame the grammar nazi from the previous post for provoking this retaliation…

  7. Zorbon says:

    Try Kodi…it’s a better friend :)

  8. Ahmed says:

    Its not about nationality. Its where you lived all your life. So automatically you have attachment to it.

  9. Wasif khan says:

    Its worse when u consider the fact that we have the technology now to uproot and replant large trees as per their new plans. Coz even if u start planting new trees now it will decides and 1000s of liters of desalinated water to grow to a decent size.

  10. Ali says:

    Since you mentioned Netflix, I’m hooked on Ozark; seems to be the new Breaking Bad

  11. Mu says:

    Ok I’ll use the same logic and will not give a shit about the arctic because it’s not my country neither I don’t live there!

  12. Jamal says:

    Dear Mark,
    I stopped giving a f**k long about how this country is managed time ago, and I am a Kuwaiti. I guess we all have to go through this phase.

  13. Gijo says:

    Guys.. not all architects think like this. We are a small studio trying to do the fundamentals right. We care about that sense of community (which is non-existent), pedestrians, fixing the interface between the streets and the buildings (most of the buildings we see in Salmiya has this anonymous, antisocial character). But it’s too bloody hard to convince the authorities and the clients. We have been quite lucky to have some clients who trust in us. Architects need to be activists, and the public should demand more from the authorities. We need more trees, we need more pavements, we need pedestrian crossings and signals for the pedestrians at the traffic intersections, we need multi story parking integrated with the buildings. The building rules are antiquated and stifle any creativity. Unfortunately, all the projects go to those firms who don’t care for any of this. And firms like us who want to do the right and the responsible thing can only wait for a private client who understands what we say to come along. Funny thing is that whatever we do gets recognized only outside Kuwait. for example, we just won the Cityscape Global award for our Edges apartment project, because they understood the complex ideas behind that very simple project. I hope someday people here start caring.

  14. Jamal says:

    Sorry for the mis- arranged words

  15. Laur says:

    Is that how he responded to your question??? Why would you commission such an important work to a person with the writing skills of a 7 year old? I mean, come on

  16. Ziad Rajab says:

    They chopped down most of the Jabriya walking path trees. Plus a lot of trees along the highways are dying because the irrigation networks aren’t maintained. But who is responsible? It’s incredibly frustrating. Maybe there’s a deportation order on the trees!

  17. thek5 says:

    This is very much your country, and your emotions are that of many Kuwaiti citizens such as yourself,

    you have every right to be angry, but i had the feeling that this architect has more to him, the original rendering has futuristic stuff to it but the core idea is good, create a pedestrian etc.., in the sense i believe if you mention or suggest a way to replant the trees or something with him he might be empathetic enough to understand and take into consideration.

  18. Mimi says:

    Rather than chopping them down, they could just re-home the trees instead. You see large palm trees been transported to be planted near malls and what not..why not replant these too?

    And oh, at least you gave a damn this long. Most expats don’t at all!

    • Kulsum says:

      It has nothing to do with being an expat or citizen honestly. Everyone likes greenery and shade by the tree. Expats don’t have any right to anything in the country so even if they gave a damn what do they get to do? Fight and get deported or told not your business. It’s unfair to say expats don’t care!

  19. Jassim says:

    Great article Mark ,

    At least if this project turns out to be another
    tasteless Kuwait Muncipilty project somebody has warned us about it.

    It seems that the engineer is a very humble and a nice guy but i am not sure
    if he is qualified to manage such project .

    And finally Kuwait will always be your country Mark , i’ve never seen
    someone who cares about it like you .

  20. Jassim says:

    Great article Mark ,

    At least if this project turns out to be another tasteless Kuwait Muncipilty project somebody has warned us about it.

    It seems that the engineer is a very humble and a nice guy but i am not sure if he is qualified to manage such project .

    And finally Kuwait will always be your country Mark , i’ve never seen someone who cares about it like you .

  21. Aziz says:

    And while you’re at it leave the country. I mean those trees are the last straw. Go home to your sorry excuse of a family and you can put this all behind you :)

    • L-Bomb says:

      People putting themselves out there does not give you the green light to be a terribly insensitive and ignorant human being. This is a place to discuss Kuwait-related matters. Not to dig into people.

    • James says:

      This is what happens when kids are raised with devices and especially when they get it with money they never had to work for. They don’t have feelings and neither can they converse on matters of any importance (subjective of course). There’s nothing you could say that would help them understand – may God, oh sorry, the iPhone X save them.

      • MK says:

        I hope you are referring to a generation and not to Kuwaitis specifically. Not all children here are spoilt bastards and nationality has nothing to do with that. My kids go to ASK and I’ve seen plenty of what you are talking about from all around the world.

        And Mark, this country is more yours than it is to some of the idiots who have been sworn in and are milking the country like it was a temporary thing.

        • James says:

          I’m not even referring to a generation let alone pick on Kuwaitis. Its a specific problem where children due to lack of parenting and spending too much time with devices are devoid of any real EQ and real-world communication capability.

    • James says:

      Oh and on picking on Mark’s “sorry excuse of a family” what would you know about his family, Mr. Ass-is?

  22. Sunny says:

    For those who didn’t get the title

    goo.gl/ewCy8k

  23. A the cyclist says:

    It is your country Mark, only you who decide what is your country not anyone else ! This is your right, you belong to this country and you feel that .. fuck the papers thing fuck the new nazism and racists who believe they are the chosen people and they have the right to decided what is the land you belong. Not because my grandpas camel was faster than your fathers 240z to arrived to this land doesn’t mean the citizenship laws should be like this .. I believe everyone in your situation should be citizen .. I’m not telling you that to relief your pain about those trees .. I don’t give a fuck about trees :/

    And come on Mark .. become a cyclist and have fun. better than Netflix and good for the كرش tho.

  24. isra says:

    In a way the Kuwait that we grew up in is being demolished, the officials are failing miserably in maintaining the old spirits of arenas that witnessed countless events throughout the decades, everything that is antique is saturated with memories, and as much as I do put so much energy in running away from this place I gotta admit that I often feel nostalgia when I’m far.
    sadly it’s a love-hate relationship for the ones who were born/lived in Kuwait for such a long time.

  25. jean says:

    You should check enroute to the airport, on the left all the trees and vegetation has been removed. Can they not plant these tree elsewhere or have a work around.

    This is very depressing to cut down trees when it takes, effort, energy, money and resources of the country.

  26. Q8since says:

    A good friend of mine is the one planting trees in desert area in China to stop desertification. It sure is hard work, I mean it is extremely hard to grow trees in harsh condition and it takes looong time for trees to grow to the size. Can’t believe that this happened in this part of the world so easily while lots of people are making huge effort to save green.

    Fyi:
    http://m.koreatimes.co.kr/phone/news/view.jsp?req_newsidx=235653

  27. James says:

    Subject of trees reminded me of this article I recently came across. Still can’t get over the one billion number !

    https://www.voanews.com/a/one-billion-trees-planted-in-pakistan-nw-province/3983609.html

  28. Joe says:

    As sadly with everyting else in Kuwait, use, abuse and throw away. The “just by new ones” attitude makes me sick.

  29. zaydoun says:

    Amazing how a dry, barren desert country that should be grateful for any green space or vegetation… just chops down trees so callously and carelessly

    But lets hope the new project has some new trees

  30. Vandana says:

    Trees always are the first to come in people’s way in Kuwait. Kuwait is such a fragile environment; I often wonder why we do not hold onto each one considering the naturally present are few and far in between. But the green zones are the first to bear the brunt. Ahmadi, Mahboula ..have lost their fantastic green cover. We planted 50 back in Mahboula when they recklessly went uprooting each one near our house. The harris pulled a decorative palm and went and sold it. Am sure the landlord will bring the rest down the day he feels like it.


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